Herzl Muthada, 53, takes issue with his name for religious reasons. He was born in Iran to Zionist parents and immigrated to Israel with them in 1968. He says that his parents gave him the name because they considered Herzl “a savior who redeemed the Jewish people after 2,000 years of exile.”

In recent years, Muthada started becoming more religious and now considers the name of the great secularist Herzl problematic.

“It’s a name despised by religious and ultra-religious people, because Herzl was definitely a heretic and because he deliberately turned his back on his Judaism and didn’t bring up his children with Jewish values,” Muthada says.

In addition, Muthada points out that the objection to the name in the religious world stems from the fact that Herzl had no genuine feeling for the Land of Israel and as proof cites his one-time consent to establish the Jewish state in Uganda. Muthada recently added another name for himself, Avraham, but nobody uses it yet.

He says that his relatives are unaccustomed to the new name, and that in the religious society in which he now lives his original name is still accepted with a degree of forgiveness, mainly because he is newly religious and so they excuse him for it.
 

Muthada has six children, all of them named after biblical heroes. His eldest son was born at a time when Muthada was still secular, during Operation Entebbe in 1976. He named him Yonatan after Yonatan Netanyahu, the prime minister’s brother who was killed in the operation, and he feels fortunate that the name is a biblical one.